Calling all Hemingway fans, BlackTail in New York City is an evocative new cocktail bar and restaurant at Pier A Harbor House in Battery Park. This Cuban hot spot is brought to you by the dynamic duo of cocktails, Sean Muldoon & Jack McGarry, the team behind Dead Rabbit(Voted Best Bar in the World in 2016). BlackTail is a tribute to old world Cuba, a throwback in time when Havana was bustling and glamorous. BlackTail draws its name from the luxury black-tailed planes, that used to transport wealthy New Yorkers to Havana, Cuba in search of libations during the prohibition days.
Arriving at Pier A in Battery Park, a bouncer graciously escorted us into the foyer. Admiring the 1920’s style light fixtures and vintage Cuban posters on the walls, we climbed the long stairway up to the lobby, as we distantly heard Cuban jazz music inviting us in. Upon catching the first glimpse of the lobby bar, with its lush greenery and stain glass ceilings, I was immediately transported to balmy Havana. The vibe was glitzy, old world Cuba. The long wood-paneled bar was intoxicatingly elegant and lively. Much a do was made to replicate the bar seating to resemble the stools at Ernest Hemingway’s favorite spot in Havana, El Floridita. The bartenders and servers bring to life a festive vibe with their Guayaberas(Cuban inspired shirts) and straw Fedoras. We were immediately immersed into a celebratory mood, when our server started us off with an amuse-bouche, a classic lime Daiquiri.
At BlackTail the ceremonious drinks are presented in a hard covered book, sorted into, cocktails, highballs, punches, old-fashioneds and sours. The drinks are a contemporary interpretation of the classic prohibition era drinks. Cuban Rum is the inspiration for many of the cocktails, most notably the daiquiris and mojitos. BlackTail has concocted its own house blend of Rum made up of four different styles, Bacardí Heritage, Caña Brava, Barbancourt and Banks 5 Island Blend. Not willing to gloss through the huge book(my mistake as I later learned it had so much history), I asked our server for the most classic drink on the menu. He steered me towards a mojito style drink, The Mary Pickford, made with the house Cuban rum blend, cherry, pomegranate, lime, pineapple, and burlesque bitters, was sweet, tart and delicious. For all you whiskey lovers, The Hugo Bracer is classic, made with a potion of Bourbon whiskey, apple brandy, aquavit, orange, pomegranate, lemon, and sriracha. There were so many more wonderful cocktails to explore, giving us plenty of reasons to come back.
The drinks were the showstoppers, so let me not forget to tell you about the wonderful cuisine here as well. The dinner menu is a fusion of Latin and American flavors. For starters you must try the gulf shrimp, served on sugarcane skewers, with a mustard lime agave sauce, served over pineapples and jalapenos. The ancho glazed chicken lollipops were delectable. For the main course the crispy red snapper was bursting with flavors, as it was served over a bed of cuban rice, sofrito beans, chorizo and red peppers. For those with an affection for tres leches, you will be delighted at BlackTail’s interpretation with whip cream, cinnamon and luxardo sour cherries. It was not too sweet and was light and delicious.
If you are in the mood to be whisked off to Cuba, no need to get on a plane, come to BlackTail for an immediate immersion into the nostalgic, bygone, carefree days of Havana, Cuba. They don’t take reservations, so drop in before words gets out.
2nd Floor, Pier A House
22 Battery Place
New York, NY 10004